The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Abu Dhabi, has released eight key indicators in 2011: the Consumer Confidence in Economic Performance Index, the National Family Conditions Observatory, the Business Cycle Index, the Confidence in Business Climate Index, the Labour Market Demand Trends Index, the industrial Index, the Financial Sector Index and the Foreign Trade and Exports Index.
Most of these development indicators, revealed optimism of individuals in various categories towards the improvement of economic conditions in Abu Dhabi in 2012.
The results of the development indicators in Abu Dhabi were constructed by the Studies Directorate, to reflect regional and global conditions, and underline the strength of Abu Dhabi's economy in facing challenges.
The Consumer Confidence in the Economic Performance Index aims at measuring the levels of optimism or pessimism of consumers towards the current economic conditions in Abu Dhabi, and anticipated economic trends in the near future, all of which will affect consumers spending and savings decisions.
The results of the Business Cycle Index revealed the improvement in the performance of the economy, especially in the third quarter of 2011, compared to the beginning of the year, which led to the restoration of sense of optimism by businessmen at the beginning of October and onward, until the end of the year.
The value of the index rose from 99.8 points during the second quarter to 102.5 points during the third quarter and to 104.12 points at the end of the year.
Despite the improvement in the economic performance in the emirate, and the restoration of businessmen optimism once more in the third quarter of 2011, the general index of confidence in the business climate at the end of 2011, recorded a slight increase by two points on the 100 points-scale, compared to 2010.
The results of opinion polls on optimism towards the future conditions of the economy of the emirate indicated a sense of optimism among businessmen about future conditions, as the value of the sub-index of business confidence towards future conditions recorded 56 points on the 100 points scale.
The General Index of Confidence in Business Climate, revealed that the annual average of the index recorded 53 points, exceeding the level of neutrality by (3) points, while it registered 55 points in 2010.
According to the index, the industrial and trading establishments were the most optimistic.
The General Index revealed that Abu Dhabi focuses mostly on investment in infrastructure, including bridges, tunnels and electricity, in the short and medium terms, which will help the construction activity in spurring the building and construction sector in the coming period.
At the level of the geographical regions, the index showed that demand for labour demand increased to 89 per cent during the period (January-March 2011), compared to 85 per cent for the same period in 2010.
Demand for jobs in the city of Abu Dhabi during the same period, with regard to the total required jobs in the emirate reached 89 per cent, while the percentage in Al Ain reached 9 per cent, and in the western region the rate stood at 6 per cent.
The private sector is considered as most attractive for foreign workers, as a result of the diversity of jobs; whereas the private sector accounts for the majority of demand for labor in Abu Dhabi by 98.9 per cent, followed by the government sector with 8.4 per cent share and the joint sector with 1.1 per cent.
The Abu Dhabi Economic Vision (2030) laid great emphasis on the industrial sector, as it will stand as one of the main pillars of growth in Abu Dhabi. A sense of optimism prevailed among the industrialists, as the results of the opinion polls survey, for operating industrial enterprises detected cautious optimism towards improvement of future conditions, due to the current unfavorable international economic conditions and the state of anticipation and uncertainty over the global economy's ability to overcome the lingering circumstances and repercussions; and the time needed for positive responses to policies, procedures and the expected corrective measures.
Most of the constraints faced by the industrial facilities include demand and supply-related issues. Around 80 per cent of the establishments reported that they faced demand and supply-related obstacles, while 10 said that they were confronted by supply- related constraints only.
The large and small facilities, showed remarkable degree of optimism towards economic conditions. The improvement in the Financial Sector index achieved during the first half of 2011 was due to the enhanced performance of a number of its constituting sub-indices. The most important being fall in inflation rate, the drop in proportion of loans to deposits, the decrease in ratio of money supply to foreign reserves, the drop off in the ratio of the volume of domestic credit to GDP, and the decrease in the average rate of return on the three-month bank deposits.
This marked improvement in the financial sector index, is a testament to the robustness of the UAE economy, and that of Abu Dhabi. The international institutions paid tribute to the stability of the United Arab Emirates which topped the MENA in the Financial Development Index of the World Economic Forum in 2010.
At the level of foreign trade, the results of the Export Index showed that the volume of trade balance deficit continued on the rise, for non- oil commodities, as a result of the impact of regional and global economic conditions on the trade of Abu Dhabi and especially its exports.
The results of the Observatory showed that the average household expenditure on education amounted to Dh33,198 per year, while average spending on mobile phones was Dh3,521 in the three months preceding the survey. The average expenditure on land line phones and internet reached Dh1,209 during the last three months.
Results and findings showed no change in the consumption pattern of most national families, regarding consumption of goods that experienced hikes in prices, during the period of the survey. These results coincided with the results of the "Consumer Confidence in Economic Performance Index"; and the results of the "Consumer Prices Index", especially in relation to the (food and non-alcoholic beverages) group, during 2011, as indicated by the report issued by the Statistics Center- Abu Dhabi.
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